Fausto Gresini has confirmed his eponymous team will race at the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix as a tribute to its fallen rider Marco Simoncelli.
Gresini Honda had originally stated an intention to skip the final event of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship season in the wake of Simoncelli's tragic death during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, but later hinted at a change of heart by confirming it will at least attend.
Now Gresini has announced it will race at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia in memory of Simoncelli, with his team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama carrying the team's hopes aboard a sole RC212V. Additionally, Gresini will also compete in the Moto2 class with Yuki Takahashi and Michele Pirro.
“The decision to participate was not an easy one, but we have made this choice as it is what Marco would have wanted,” said Gresini. “Going out on track at Valencia is definitely the best way to honour him by doing what he most loved to do: Ride and experience the world of MotoGP.
“This is why I believe that the best show of affection that we can make to Marco is by lining up our teams and riders for this race. 'Super Sic' will be present in the hearts of Hiroshi Aoyama, Michele Pirro and Yuki Takahashi, and I am sure that they will give him a most fitting tribute with their performances on Sunday.”
The decision to race means Aoyama will get one final MotoGP appearance before he joins Honda in the World Superbike Championship.